Saturday, February 27, 2010

My Left Foot

Yup, thats what you're looking at. I know all of the women out there know and appreciate the healthy benefits of a good pedicure but I'll bet most of the men don't.

A few days ago MP and I went to to town to get money at the ATM. Theres something about peso's that makes me view them like monopoly money and so much easier to spend than greenbacks. A few weeks back as I was killing time waiting for the Sports Book to open so I could get my bet down on the Daytona 500 I got hustled into 'Diva's Spa' for a beard trimming. Of course MP's best and smartest friend is a Diva so I knew we were connected. So as we walked by this morning on our way to our daily 10,000 steps and with a new pocketful of pesos I suggested a pedicure for the 2 of us at Diva's.
The first thing that happens is they take a sharp little knife tool and cut away all that useless skin above your toenails. Then you get em trimmed just right. In my case I have a little toenail thats wavy and about as thick as a Pacifico bottle top. With some sanding and grinding it looks just like the one I was born with. Magic. But I gotta tell you, as all this was going on I felt a little bit like Trigger on a visit to the farrier. The nails are done and its time to get rid of that 1/4 inch of calous I've developed on the bottom of my feet. More grinding and sanding, I think they call it and emory board. Emory....mmmm...I don't know. Then comes the thorough cleaning followed by the massage. I even had the gal probe around on the bottom of my foot like a surgeon as I had a sticker in there from the beach. A half hour after we start I'm down 300 peso and have the pinkest feet you've ever seen. March on.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Does Bait Make a Difference ?

All us Kenai guys know that when we use bait the hook-ups increase. I think its the same here as I learned a valuable lesson bait vrs artificial. From shore we do quite good with the Ranger for the Guyo. It seems that when they're crashing bait near shore and running out of room combined with the sandy look of the near shore foamy water they just don't see the Ranger good enough to know its fake. The flip side of that is when trolled from a boat in the clearer water offshore he sees it so well he won't bite. So I always thought ....shore, Ranger. Boat, live bait. Until the other day that is.
My friend Rich Uberraga was here and he's an expert rooster hunter. We fish all morning without even a sighting so we think they just aren't around. About mid morning three guys show up with this bucket ingeniusly rigged with an airator and a battery to keep the mullet alive, called "Lisa" here in Mazatlan. The guys hook the live Lisa which are pretty darn nice fish themselves right at the dorsal fin so they can swim easily away. One young guy even wades out to his neck to help the Lisa get started. The left side of my brain said this oughta work but having never seen it before I really didn't pay much attention, afterall I've already decided its a poor day for the Rooster. It isn't long before one of the guys is rebaiting and he tells Rich who has good spainish that he missed one. Sounds just like the boat launch to me, alot of skunked fisherman I meet will tell you he missed one, it spit the hook, it struck short, he set the hook to know, excuses. Finally I'm ready to have breakfeast when down the beach I see commotion. Now us sport guys are used to seeing fish played out from the fight. But let me tell you when you just yard them directly in with 200 pound mono on a hand line all the fighting is on shore. Its incredible. Like a UFC cage fight, Randy Coultre and the ground and pound is about the best way I could describe it. This young guy finally gets his hands through its gills and it STILL fighting. I figure the poor guy is gonna dislocate his shoulder just carrying it. Wow....we're impressed, and theres no fish around.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Hand Holder

Yesterday morning I got to looking at MP. She just had this look that said I'm either tired of Mazatlan, tired of Jeff or tired of doing nothing, or maybe all three. Considering I've been fishing 6 hours a day, sleeping a couple hours in the afternoon and then playing music at night I can understand her look. Theres only one thing to do, take one for the team....go shopping. What I call a 'hand holder'. So we jump the #1 bus with 1200 peso and head for old town to tour the art galleries. As we walk through Revolution Plaza the most pleasent music hits my ears. Its a couple guys playing pan flutes, they're Yaris from Ecuador and the only way to describe the music is that it sounded like the rain forest. Real south american Indian music, I bought a CD of course. We wander the Plaza Machado, its the cultural center of Mazatlan and although I don't know Europe I kind of figure this is how it might be. The first gallery is Nidart on Libertad st. The first thing that catches my eye is this old radio that somehow resembles something I vaguely remember from my youth. Whats even more interesting that on top of it are these little guitars for sale. I guess I'm just on a guitar theme lately. MP's looking at these cool little coconut faces when I spot the Galleries Keystone piece. Its this purpley, skeltony, feathery, Angel.

The Angel I figure I better print big because he's so cool. I didn't ask what he cost but I got the feeling that something like this is mucho peso.....

We're off to another gallery and lucky for me its right next door to a wonderful little restraunt where I can sit while MP shops and have got it, Pacifico. One thing all of us know that in Mexico you take your safety in your own hands. I mean you have uncovered manholes, balconies with no rails, curbs that can be anywhere from 3 inches to 3 feet so I was surprised to find this sign in the banos. Pretty darn nice of this guy to help you not crack your melon open while you're taking a leak.

So MP being the way she is we collect stuff for our friends, gifts. She buys things that she's never seen before and buys things she knows someone will like. Although dickering for a price is standard here today we just pay and smile and laugh. At one stop the women working the counter tells me all about the man from Alaska she met yesterday, he must have impressed her as she looked to make sure his number was still on the cell phone. Oh, and he was a fisherman...they're everywhere. We move on and have a nice lunch of soup and a cobb salad. Besides gifts we buy a couple pairs of shorts that everyone noticed when we dressed up for brunch today. We went to the pharmacy and what a deal, I got a 500 day supply of my blood pressure medicine for 10 bucks. You know you're settling into middle age when you're excited about getting a deal on meds.

On MP's pedometer we're up to 15000 steps. Its hot and sunny but I'm finally comfortable with none of that claustrophobic feeling some people get around the mercado. We walk back to catch the bus and buy a couple shrimpa tamales, my favorite. We're home a bit foot weary and flat broke so when I told our friends I had to sing for my drinks I wasn't kidding.....what do you want to hear?????

Thursday, February 18, 2010

EveryOne Loves a Parade

The day before yesterday was Fat Tuesday, the last day of the 3rd largest pre Lent Carnaval in the world. Right here in our own town, Mazatlan in Sinaloa Mexico. So me and MP and our friends Vince and Tammy as well as another couple, Craig and Candy head down to the Malecon at 2 pm for the scheduled 3 pm parade...of course its Mexico time and 3 actually means 4. So no worries, just more time for bacon wrapped hot dogs, pistachios and of course Pacifico's. Plus we were early enough to score one of the coveted cement benches on the Malecon for our group. We set up camp surrounded by mostly Mexican families and lots of kids.
I took this picture of MP, she's in the spirit for sure. You've heard that saying "dancing in the streets", well I think they must have known MP as when the music blares she just can't sit still.

It wasn't long before the big Kahuna of the parade, the Pacifico Float came by. They were by far the most generous of the parade throwing beads, finger rings with lights and coasters, someone must have decided that throwing Pacifico beers wouldn't work out but I'll bet you it was tried once upon a time. I thought my gym buddies would get a kick out of the float people, not bad eh? If you click the pic it will enlarge. As you can see theres alot of attractive ladies on these floats and it would be easy to burn up the 35 shots I have left on my camera....but nope, I'm looking for the interesting, the unusual when I spot this gal with wheels. Through all these years I've watched zillions of period movies with MP as she loves them and I had no idea old Queen Vic or whoever actually had wheels...stupid me.

This next pic just gives you an idea of the scene. Some of these floats are huge. They must be 30 feet high and have 2 or 3 honda generators powering the lights and music. Most are towed by airport pusher vehicles or huge diesel tractors. Each float has its own music, mucho loud but its amazing that for the few minutes that its right in front you only hear theirs.

Then I notice this guy selling cotton candy. There can't be a better way to get somebody to spend 20 pesos on cotton candy than to enclose a 200 peso bill with the candy. Theres a good chance the bill is fake I'd say but how do you really know unless you buy the candy. Absolutely brilliant. Right about the time I'm ready to invest in some cotton candy my all time favorite float comes buy. Its got the coolest guitars I've ever seen. I was so impressed with the guitars that I have to tell you the truth, I never figured out its theme. But even though it was late in the parade and we were close to a Pacifico tent I'm pretty sure it had something to do with music.

By now we can see the flashing lights of the police and firetrucks at the end of the parade. Theres some really cool horses that kind of prance and hop but I only have 1 picture left in the camera and I decide I better save it just in case I come across something really weird or one of our friends does something really stupid. Boy am I glad I saved it because we came across this beautiful Palm tree. It is now the most photographed Palm tree ever in the history of Palm trees. Don't ask me how they did it, but thats about as cool as it

Monday, February 15, 2010

Is it time for Recess Yet ?

Today it was time to leave the rooster hunt and check on our spot for Corvina. Although the Corvina have been dead dog slow Oceanica north of town is the place and in the past its delivered so much so often. To not check on it would be kind of like running the river and not stopping to look at Eagle Rock. So Slah, Ernie and Me head out at 5:30 am to be in place at light. We stop and cast for an hour at 4th point, the steadiest spot out there...nodda. Then we head north another 2 or 3 miles and cast for another hours...nodda. Often we drop each other off 1/4 or 1/2 mile from each other to cover more area. The only way to know if they're around is to cast, and cast alot. Unlike the Rooster, you can't see these guys. At one stop we loose a couple but Slah is convinced that they're the orange variety which are individuals and we'd like to find the school fish. So we move on. As you can see, this beach is steep and deep where the Rooster likes flat and shallow. Finally we're getting a little casters elbow going so we stop for Fruit that Slah brought and I have some dried shimp thats you eat entero. Its like shrimp jerky. I take this shoot of the team. You guys haven't met my friend Ernie Mills yet on the right. Ernie is 10 years older than me and a retired Fireman from just outside of Toronto. He's about as lean as you have ever seen a 66 year old man and although he only does simple push ups and crunches his muscle definition is amazing. Ernie lost his wife 2 1/2 years ago and he must of have been goofy in love as he's still not 100%. He's not lonely, just alone. He has a solitaireness about him that I think is great inner strength. I can't imagine ever not having MP and only hope I could be as good a man as Ern is. Ernie has a flair for language and has taught me alot, like the word 'shamozle'. It would be used in a sentence like this..."yesterdays Daytona 500 was a real shamozle". Oh, he's also and expert fisherman and is the only guy in Mazatlan that gets up earlier than me to fish.

Being a bit on the A.D.D. side I'm becoming distracted and looking for shells and stuff when I spot this platform. We surmise that its for a sea turtle protection program but then again it could just be that somebody wanted a tree house on the beach wheres theres no trees. So, its time for Recess. Naturally I have to be the first one up and off I go. As I get closer I notice it has a decided lean to the north and no diaganol braces to help the wobble...and oh baby does it ever wobble with 200 pounds of me on it. I figure its just barely safe enough, Slah being Mexican figures its perfectly safe and almost osha approved. Ernie being a fireman figures he's used to risking his life. We all three climb it of course. Heres the view inland and the view to the sea.

Its about 11 as we figure we better get going. MP likes some time away from me if you can imagine that, but I figure 6 hours is a bit much. We stop and fish just a bit more but as we ride south Slah scans the surf, ifs theres fish around he knows it. We're almost to the car when we get waved over by some guys in several jeeps. Its Billy Chapman and his friends from Anglers Inn at El Salto. Billy has alot going on with several lodges and dream boat trips on the Amazon River. He's really interested in the Surf Fishing so he's run into just the right guys. They have a video camera and want Rooster pics so we go into executive session. Slah demonstrats the long cast and the guys are awed...and so was I. We discuss the in and outs of the Ranger Lure and why you need the Daiwa Emblem reel so you don't have in-flight bail closure which ends in catastrophic Ranger Loss. One guy named Phil had been to the Kenai and we discuss boating techniques, he says thats 'varsity level' stuff. What a great day, and Billy's buying supper..........

Friday, February 12, 2010


This fish was born to be caught. Unless there were more around than I think there were this guy here swam around teasing us for 10 minutes before he finally bit hard. 15 minutes into the morning Tom is throwing metal and the fish followed so far that he ran out of ocean. Tony and I laughed that he must have locked the hubs in to get back off the beach. Tom was stunned. Then just a few minutes later I get a great follow on my green Ranger. He swims away right when he hits the white water and I think its a done deal. Not so fast, the next cast gets the same result . He follows all the way from the farthest extent of the cast and when he hits the white water he's gone. Man oh man. Two casts later he follows yet again and I speed the retrieve up just enough that with a big splash he has the Ranger right in the corner of his mouth. Unlike most of them this guy jumps and puts on quite a show, 15 minutes later Tony does the honors and our team is on the board again.....Yahtzee!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Old Friends and Old Town

My old and best friend Tom Beneventi and his wife Angelita arrived in Mazatlan Sunday. Tom is the best person I've ever known, he's caring, thoughtful, interesting and I can't spend enough time with him. We've been friends sense the 10th grade and I'll bet all of you have somebody like him in your life that even though you might go years without seeing each other when you do the years seem like days. Tom's in my corner and I'm in his.So we've been fishing. And fishing. And fishing. So today we decided to road trip into Old Town for lunch and a massage. I played music last night at Arre Lu Lu until the wee hours...10:30 , so we didn't get started until late morning. The first pic is of me and Tom standing in Revolution Square where we found a poster display of Mexican heros. Its Carnaval time and the city is full of neat displays of patriotism and Pacifico Beer, which Mazatlan runs on. Of course Pacifico is brewed here in Mazatlan but it never stops amazing me that its everywhere, and I mean everywhere. Whats the chances of finding a Pacifico beer truck next to cases of Pacifico emptys in front of the Pacifico Grand Stand?

This pic was taken in front of our favorite restraunt in Olas Altas, Puerto Viejo where we had lunch....and of course a few Pacifico's. The special of the day was chicken enchiladas or fish. 3 of us had enchiladas and and Angel had fish, it all came with alphabet soup which seems to be thier standard just like the 'lemon chicken rice' at Frosos restraunt back home. The Special was 48 pesos, about 4 bucks and man was it gooooood. All the time we were eating a bird was nest building right above us and Angel seemed to attrack the falling construction pieces. Just part of the deal, if you can't handle a little bird feather falling on you while you eat , maybe you're not right for this deal. Right Ang?

So now its time to hit the spa and relieve the stress I'm feeling from having played music in front of all Arre Lu Lu's customers, 20 or so who are all now my good friends. In fact a met a guy named Hoppy who fishes with one of our friends on the Kenai...Its a small world, but don't try to paint it is what my friend Curt Synness says.

Our spa is the Aroma spa. What they may lack lack in organization they make up with in quirkyness. This place is out of control. The lobby (which is being generous) is full of folk art. Puffer fish and whale bones, glass fish and fake birds, pieces of wood that look like people and just about anything you can imagine. Valentines day seems to be an especialey big deal here and the spa was certainly decorated for that. These 2 pics are the outside and then the room where MP and I had the 'couples massage'. As I routinely say here, " I left with a feeling of well being and contentment".

Tom and Angel want lobster for supper so we go to the central mercado but its way to late in the day for langosta. They settle for the nicest head on under 16 shrimp for 100 pesos a kilo. Beautiful.

Now the last part of this was crazy. I wish I'd taken a pic but I was so inthralled with this guy that I just forgot....We usually get the bus but its close to cocktail hour and its been a long day and ....we were up a little I hail down the first cab I see. The guys says "how much will you pay?" I say, mmmmm (usually I start the negotiation) "hows about 100 pesos to the Vidafel" he says "NO"....I start to walk away and he says "OK". His name is Jorge Orozco, my new friend and he worked at Kenai Packers in the 70's when I fished from there with Woody and Phil SeaBurg on th Comanche. He spent several years at Cannery work and even won the beard contest at Fur Rondevous one year. We knew many of the same people and to hear Jorge speak so fondly of Alaska and the Kenai mad me realize that I'm not only doing something right but I'm also a lucky guy. Lucky. Lucky.

Friday, February 5, 2010

OK, OK, more Fish

This is a pic of my friend Tony with his first Rooster. There must be something to this deal as Tony is about as hooked on these fish as I am and its no wonder, this fish was more exciting than the last Minnesota Viking football game. I mean it was plain heart throbbing exciting.

Me and Tone got to what we're call RoosterVille at sun up, about 6:15. We rig our rods at the car because I've found that if I wait and do it on the beach and happen to see the roosters I get so excited I can't tie a not. So being ready we walk up to the surf and not seeing the fish we make a few casts and kind of practice to make sure we're ready....Then its like poetry, everything fits and happens perfect. We see the roosters pretty far offshore and as I load the cannon they work right towards us. They have a bunch of mullet on the surface and those poor guys are frantic to get away, the school of fish numbers maybe 10 or 15. So me having the longer cast when they're in range I fire hard. Duck hook. I miss them by an easy 50 feet. Jeeeeeez. Tony's cool, he waits and casts right into them only 40 or 50 feet from shore. I see the rooster splash and Tones hooked up and saying " I think he's gonna take all my line". I retrieve my wasted cast as fast as I can and when I'm set the school is still there. Being that kind of guy I tell Tony who's fish has run right out in front of me " I'm casting over you man...I gotta". He says OK. Yup, no fish and now I'm tangled with Tony on his first Rooster ever. What a jerk. But I cut the line and we make sense of it all and after 15 minutes Tone lands this fish. I snap a couple pics and Tone carefully lets the guyo swim off. I'm like doublea impressed, not just with his fishing but his thoughtfullness to let it go. I gurantee you, the first one I caught had to die. I got a new fishing partner.
Don't think thats the same fish, I know it looks identical. But. The next day we have the fever bad, in fact I think my newest fishing team member Tony is the only guy I've ever met with more passion than me. Thats cool. This fish was way different. We fished and fished when all of a sudden the birds show up signaling a school of Toro chasing sardines. I changed to my metal lure to catch a Toro and so did Tony and we caught a couple but we both agreed something was weird as we were seeing big splashes. So I put the Ranger back on and watched this fish crash the bait at the very extent of my cast. I burn the Ranger in fast and even though I see him chasing I have to keep reeling so he doesn't get a good look. A couple times I felt him bite and just not get then hook and finally after what seemed like a decade he bit hard. I mean HARD. Tony snapped the shots and we went back to the buiding where we are slowly but surely creating a Rooster Hunters INC. Just the other day me , Slah and Ernesto ( I'll get a pic of my buddy Ernie soon, he's lean , mean..well , you know the rest) were out at Black Rock hoping for Corvina. Those darn things just don't seem to be around and we cast our butts off for several hours just to make sure. The surf is kind of big and the beach steep so the 'surfcasters dance' is alot . In fact the waves aren't bad as you see them but the one that will knock you down is when its gone past and hits you from behind. And low and behold, just a few feet from me the surf threw me this little guy. No hook, no net, just plain simple moe-joe, a favor from the fish boss. I know it wasn't much but it was way more than anybody else did so for the first time this year I got the silver star on my report card. I crushed em. In the backgorund of this pic you 'll see a pneaumatico going off to work. Hard working men those guys.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Treasure of the Sierra Madre

Yesterday we're invited by my friend Tony Mercuro to join him and our friend Bill, a Physics proffessor for a trip to the mountains. Knowing how MP loves to travel and look at birds and me suffering from a seriously overworked knee we jumped on the chance. Our destination is Lake El Salto where Tony wants to shop for a some bass fishing and overnight accomodations. We get on the pay road and go through the Mexican security, 5 federals with machine guns having you slow down just enough to sense if you're nervous. We turn off for the Lake and this pic will give you an idea of the terrain and the mountains.

We stopped at El SAlto lodge and one of the first treasures we encountered was this boat. For me it was reminiscent of my first boat that I kinda borrowed from Woody, the Edmund Fitzminnow. This boat I have to assume was in the bone yard but just about anythings possible around here. The next treasure were these wonderful ' Royal Limons' that were ripe and growing. Now I don't know exactly what a Royal Lime is but its gotta be the biggest lemon you've ever a Royal Bull Elk eh? Being a northerner my whole life I'm always amazed at the sight of fruit growing....I mean it just hangs from the tree...and its everywhere.

Then we go for lunch to what I think is a pretty famous fishing lodge called Billy Chapmans Anglers Inn. Unbelieveable service here, in fact the staff has shirts that say exactky that and they're right. For 250 pesos each we had chicken lunch with a real treat, fresh veggies. All the pacifico you can drink and quacomole that was to die for. This and the conversation of Tony, Bill and John the lodges P.R. director made for a great hour or so. We laughed a bunch. This other pic is of the lake from the lodge. Although it rained here the other day it is the dry season and the lake is low while water is drawn out for irrigation. We also came across this Bouganvilla plant or tree. Its the biggest any of us had seen and had to have its picture taken. So thats MP and Tony adding to this treasure.

But the biggest treasure of the day was finding out about the Tropic of Cancer. Its located about 15 miles north of us and I guess must be a big deal because the goverment has this sign and a round monument with a line it to actually direct you along the tropic. Tony and Bill tell me the 2 Tropics, Cancer to the north and Capricorn to the south are the limits of the rotation of the earth. The earth rotates on its axis of course but it also 'wobbles' a little so the two tropics are the extent of that. So, on solstice day, June 21st the sun is directly over me and MP in this picture exactly at noon. Every year, no matter

What a day....and we get home just in time for a nice little Toro bite on the beach. We've had some great fish adventures so I'll report on that in a day or two.